Laura is part of the research team M3, working on the SNSF project Cultural Flagships: Pathways, Practices and Politics of a Global Urban Type. Within the project, she explores the genealogies of cultural flagships by focusing on the materialities that constitute the ante-lives of these buildings – such as construction waste.
Her PhD research focuses on the relationships between garbage and urbanisation, in particular how garbage matters for city-making. She conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Cartagena de Indias, a city on Colombia's Caribbean coast. Through the lens of waste, she explores the processes involved in producing spatial inequalities in the city. Her thesis examines the entanglements of garbage with the daily lives of Cartagena's inhabitants and considers the ways garbage practices sustain politics of place-making and urban belonging.
She was a visiting PhD student at the Universidad de Cartagena, Colombia (2019) and a visiting PhD student at the Centre of Latin American Studies, University of Cambridge, UK on a SNSF Doc.Mobility scholarship (2022).
She holds an MSc in Urbanisation and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science, a Master's degree in Anthropology and Sociology from the Université Libre de Bruxelles, and a Bachelor's degree in Geography from the University of Lausanne. In 2012-13, she studied as part of her Bachelor's degree, at the Universidad de Chile, in Santiago.
Her Master's research both at the LSE and the ULB dealt with the subject of housing policies in Latin American urban contexts. She later continued exploring the topic of housing for migrant populations in Latin American cities, by taking part in a research project at the Universidad de Chile on the mining city of Antofagasta in northern Chile. The project examined national and international migrant workers' access to self-built housing.
In 2022, she was granted an SNSF Agora grant (with Dr. Silke Oldenburg, University of Basel; 2022-2023) for a communication project entitled Urban Waterworlds: Dialogues on Urban Flooding, Climate Justice and the Future of Water in the City. The project developped urban environmental walks with and amongst urban youth in Switzerland (Basel and Lausanne) and Colombia (Cartagena de Indias).